KEENE, N.H. - On the final Saturday of the semester with a three-week layoff waiting, a low-scoring, defensive grind worked all the same for the Keene State College men's basketball team, who pulled through in overtime to beat Little East foe UMass-Boston 50-46 at Spaulding Gymnasium.
- Keene State: 3-5, 2-0 LEC
- UMass-Boston: 5-2, 1-1 LEC
How It Happened
In a 45-minute game that saw the teams combine to shoot only 100 shots from the field and neither team lead by more than five points, the Owls rallied from a 36-31 deficit in the final 5:08 of regulation to force overtime and then scored seven of the 10 points in the extra session to snag their second straight nailbiting, low-scoring conference victory. Nick Redden was a key factor for KSC, as he scored eight of his 10 points after halftime and made 3-of-5 shots (2-of-4 from three) overall while also grabbing five rebounds, including a key offensive board that helped ice the game with 15 seconds left in overtime. Ben Olson added seven points, four rebounds, four blocks and two steals, and Sidi Diallo finished with seven points, four rebounds and four steals. 30 of Keene State's 50 points came off the bench. Dasan Cinelli led UMass-Boston with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting, while Charlie Mitchell (12 points) and Charles Mitchell (10 points) were also in double-figures.
As the final score indicates, neither team found much offense throughout. The opening 7:22 saw each team put up six points, but the Owls eventually got a bucket and a free throw from DeVon Beasley to put KSC up 9-6 nearly nine minutes in. His points concluded a string of seven straight for the Owls over a span of six minutes, as UMass-Boston went from an early 6-2 edge to not scoring for nearly seven minutes. However, the visitors eventually did get a three and a layup from Charles Mitchell on consecutive possessions to open up a 15-10 lead at the 8:01 mark of the first half. KSC battled back, tying the game at 16 after James Anozie's pair of free throws three minutes later, but then did not register another field goal for the remainder of the half and trailed 21-18 at the break.
Buckets from Olson and Diallo early in the second half provided the Owls a lead (22-21), but the offensive flow remained fleeting, as UMB scored five quick points to go back ahead 26-22 with 16:45 to go. The teams continued to go back-and-forth without sustaining any momentum, as Keene State hit back by scoring seven of the next eight finishing with Jeff Hunter's and-one for a two-point lead (29-27) at the 13:13 mark. Tied at 31 a few minutes later, it appeared UMass-Boston took control of the game by scoring five consecutive points, three from the foul line, during a run that took nearly four minutes off the clock. However, on a day highlighted by defense, it was Redden's eight-point scoring burst down the stretch of the second half that helped rescue the Owls. A layup and three on consecutive possessions helped KSC tie the game less than one minute after UMB built their game-high lead, and he was at it again when the Owls needed a hoop, with his triple trimming a 40-36 deficit to one with 2:33 to go. After a pair of Beacon turnovers, Marcus McCarthy put the Owls ahead 42-40 with a jumper as the clock wound toward one minute. After a miss by UMass-Boston, one free throw from Diallo made it a three-point game, but Cinelli's three-point play on the next possession tied the game at 43 and neither team was able to win the game with their final chance in regulation.
Nyzair Rountree kicked off the extra session with a jumper after KSC won the tip, and he scored again not too long after to help provide a 47-44 Owl edge with 3:15 remaining. That proved to be enough, as UMB was held without a field goal and turned the ball over four times in overtime, compared to no miscues for Keene State. One free throw from Olson at the 1:56 mark made it a two-possession game (48-44), but the Beacons did get two from the line by Charlie Mitchell to keep it a game with 48 seconds to go. Redden helped salt the game away on the next possession, as he corralled an offensive board off Rountree's miss, was fouled, and made both from the line to make it 50-46 with 16 seconds left. UMB's last-ditch three was off the mark as time wound down.
Inside the Paint
- The 50 points are the fewest the Owls have scored in a victory in program history based on available data. UMass-Boston's 46 points are their fewest in a game since they scored just 45 in an 85-45 loss against KSC on December 2, 2017.
- Redden notched his third double-digit point effort of the season, and his 2-of-4 showing from three raised his three-point percentage for the year to 44% (18-for-41).
- Olson's four blocks match a career-high that he set nearly exactly a year ago in a 98-85 win over Rhode Island College.
- KSC has won nine straight against the Beacons and is 42-11 in the all-time series.
- Keene State will play a pair of games in the Great Lakes Invitational right before the decade closes. The Owls will first matchup with host The College of Wooster on Saturday, December 28. Tip-off is at 7:30 pm.
- UMass-Boston has an exhibition game at Holy Cross on Tuesday, December 10 at 7:05 pm before hosting Tufts University the following evening at 7:00 pm.